The best retro gaming consoles of all time

Modern video games and devices provide a storytelling experience that rivals the blockbuster Hollywood movies, but also requires a heavy commitment to your playing time. 

Retro gaming consoles of all time
Retro gaming consoles

Sometimes you just want to jump into the action, and your favorite 8 and 16-bit games from last year are perfect for that. Retro games are more popular than ever, and finding the perfect old gaming gear can be a daunting task. So we did the work for you.

Whether you're a kid of the 1980s playing classic titles for decades and owning a mountain of old cartridges (and a hard drive full of ROM) or a teen curious to find out why so many people love the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, this guide will help you find the best way. To immerse yourself in old games.

Purchase forecasts for the remainder of 2020: While manufacturing and shipping delays that slowed deployments of new devices in 2020 continue into 2021, long-awaited older device releases like Analogue's Pocket and Panic's Playdate are on the way. Still in months. 

Small businesses, many of which are located in China, are always releasing cool old laptops, including the new Anbernic-inspired RG280V. One of the hottest elements for this Christmas is also a Nintendo renaissance and watch, but availability will be very limited and dedicated to Super Mario Bros fans.

The Best Portable Console for Experienced Retro Gamers

Anbernic RG350P

Just a few years ago, portable emulators made by former Chinese gaming fans were good, but not very good, and lacked the quality you'll find with big-company devices. This is no longer the case. The Annbernic RG350P looks solid like the Nintendo Switch, but instead of cartridges, it plays games using ROMs stored on microSD cards, for consoles such as various Game Boys, NES, SNES, the Sega system. 

Master, the original Sony PlayStation Genesis, and even older PCs. Like the Commodore 64. At around $ 88, it is also priced right for its capabilities but just be prepared for some forum research and tutorials when it comes to installing new emulators or making new ones. software updates, as the RG350P is designed for those more tech-savvy.

The RK2020

The price of the RK2020 is the same as that of the RG350P, it features a screen with remarkable accuracy, provides decent control, and a faster processor that allows it to play a large number of games from more powerful 3D consoles, including the N64. And Sega Dreamcast. The single analog stick makes playing PS1 games difficult (but not impossible), although the level of technical skill required to simply copy ROM files to its Linux formatted memory card makes the RK2020 much more difficult to operate. 

Instead of giving players a classic version of the Game Boy, Nintendo celebrated Mario's 35th birthday this year with the relaunch of its old school console Game & Watch that defined handheld games in the 1980s. New Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. Includes the original NES version of Super Mario Bros. 

Its sequel, plus a classic G&W game called Ball, test the magic of Mario and Luigi. However, it is only available in limited quantities and $ 50 is very expensive for only three old games. Alternatively, consider the new Anbernic 280V retro. It puts electronic components for the RG350P in a compact, pocket-friendly device. 

The two RG350P analog controllers are sacrificed in the process, however, which means that the RG280V is more suitable for playing games from the 16-bit era onwards. At roughly $ 85, it's more expensive than Nintendo's new Game & Watch, but it can also play thousands of old games, not just three.

The Best Portable Console for Casual Retro Gamers


Unlike the RG350P and RK2020, Evercade does not require users to provide their own games. Its creators worked on licensing official games from the original publishers to create a thematic cartridge bundle each containing multiple games. 

There are over 120 games available for Evercade right now, and more are on the way, and for $ 100 you can turn off the handheld console itself and three game-filled vehicles to get you started. This approach means that Evercade doesn't rely on emulators, so every game works just like in the original system, with no slowdowns or audio out-of-sync issues.

Analogue Pocket

Until the Analogue Pocket officially arrives in May 2021, there aren't many portable console options that could run the original game carts if you still had your original kit on hand. But the $ 80 My Arcade Retro Champ can power the original 8-bit NES and Famicom game cartridges if you're okay with a portable console that's too big for a pocket. 

My Arcade has also revealed a follow-up, Super Retro Champ at CES 2020 that can power the original Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis cartridges but is currently another victim of manufacturing delays linked to the pandemic.

Super Impulse's Micro Arcade

If the size is an issue, Super Impulse's Micro Arcade line puts classic games like Pac-Man, Tetris, Dig Dug, Galaga, Oregon Trail, and Qbert into handheld devices the size of a credit card with the price tag. ranges from $ 20 to $ 25 depending on how many games are included in each one. Designed by the same engineer who created open-source Arduboy: 

The credit card-sized Game Boy lets anyone program and creates its own games. With a black-and-white OLED display, Arduboy games are as simple as old games can get, and while you won't find any A-list titles available for credit card-sized mobile devices (which whether the clone of Tetris or Space Invaders), all games are available.

Retro gaming consoles
Retro gaming

Currently completely free. You can get a version of Arduboy that lets you download one game at a time for $ 29, or wait until fall 2020 to get the new Arduboy FX at $ 49, which includes additional memory that can hold around 200 games at a time. times.

Many retro pocket players believe the genre has been mastered with the original Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and various iterations of the Game Boy Advance. If you prefer to stick with what you know, companies like Retro Modding can create a custom version of the popular Nintendo laptop for you using a mix of legacy hardware (original motherboards) and the latest parts including rechargeable batteries, backlit LCD screens, and more powerful speakers. Colorful buttons and bags that match the originals or feature more elaborate designs. 

Custom versions can set you back up to $ 500 if you choose to upgrade every last component and it often takes a few weeks to build, but if you're sad the original Game Boys won't work anymore, replacing the rebuild is the best thing you do.

Alternatively, with more than 55 million consoles sold so far, there's a good chance you'll have a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite at home. The cartridge slot won't accept older Game Boy games - a feature Nintendo has included in their latest mobile devices for a while - but if you're paying for the Nintendo Switch Online service ($ 3 a month or $ 20 a month). A), you might not realize it. 

Two free apps you can download that gives you access to a library of over 60 classic NES and SNES games, with Nintendo being added to the library every few months. This makes playing the classic 8 and 16-bit Nintendo games very easy and the simulation is perfect, but access is only granted as long as you pay for the Switch online service.

The Best Console for Retro Gamers

Analogue Super Nt

In just a few years, Analogue has made a name for itself as the best possible solution for playing old original game cartridges on modern TVs. Instead of relying on software emulators that can be buggy with a performance that varies from game to game, Analogue's 16-bit Super Nt uses a custom FPGA chip that perfectly emulates Super Nintendo hardware. origin. 

Every game works flawlessly and the console includes an HDMI connection and countless options to customize the look of games on a giant screen so you can get as close as possible to recreating your childhood gaming experience. At $ 180, the Super Nt doesn't come cheap, but the bigger problem is that Analogue only produces its material in small batches, so you might have to wait a bit before Super Nt is back in. stock.

Analogue Mega Sg

Everything we said about Analogue Super Nt applies to the Mega Sg, except instead of playing original Super Nintendo cartridges, the Mega Sg plays 16-bit Sega Genesis games, 8-bit Sega Master games, Game Gear (with the correct cartridge adapter), and even Sega games Perfectly CD, no lag, no frame drop and, most importantly, no audio sync issues that have plagued Sega emulators for years. Analogue currently has a Mega Sg in stock for $ 190, but don't drag your feet as the company's equipment often sells out quickly and takes time to restock.

Also Consider

Analog Mega Sg can run original cartridges from over a decade of Sega controllers, but Analog Super Nt is only SNES. If you also have a set of NES cartridges, you will need to look for the $ 500 Analogue Nt or the latest $ 500 Nt mini Analogue Nt which is currently out of stock Analogue itself but appears occasionally on eBay.

 If you are looking for a cheaper solution and don't necessarily care about being able to power your old cartridges, Nintendo fans should definitely consider the $ 80 Super Nintendo Classic Edition that comes with 20 classic SNES 16-bit games and two. Matching consoles, or the classic $ 60 NES Edition that includes 30 8-bit games and a pair of old gamepads, but finding either might be a challenge now because Nintendo no longer produces the classic releases. 

Retro gaming
Retro gaming

However, Sega fans should have an easier time finding the $ 80 Sega Genesis Mini, which includes an impressive list of 42 built-in 16-bit games running from the polished Genesis emulator, while native PS1 fans can also grab the thumbnail. PlayStation Classic in one game, for $ 100, includes 20 games and a pair of consoles - although you don't get the enhanced DualShock option with an analog joystick side by side.

It's not hard to find an online tutorial on how to turn a Raspberry Pi into an old simulation game box. We made one with a Raspberry Pi 3, and the new Raspberry Pi 4 is a more powerful solution, and a good deal starting at just $ 35. If the DIY approach sounds too intimidating, there are some pre-built Raspberry Pi based controllers as well. 

Allcade Itty Bitty smartphones look like regular NES, SNES, and N64 cartridges, but they're standalone controllers with USB power and HDMI connections hidden inside. 8-bit Allcade at $ 149 and 16-bit Allcade at $ 169 and $ 199 for 64-bit Allcade, each of which comes with a matching legacy controller and the ability to easily mount ROMs using a USB drive.

The Best Retro Gaming Controller

You can get fixes for your old games on a variety of different platforms, including desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even modern consoles like the Nintendo Switch, but you want to play with a real console - not a touchscreen No keyboard, and certainly not a pair of tiny Joy-Cons.

Our Catch: 8BitDo SN30 Pro 

If you're looking for a third-party wireless controller, you'll be hard-pressed to find a solution that offers more compatibility, more customization, and a better operating experience than the $ 50 8BitDo SN30 Pro +. 

The control layout is closest to the PlayStation's DualShock controller with side-by-side analog controllers, but the SN30 Pro + can play with any device that supports Bluetooth connected controllers. It offers excellent vibration feedback, analog shoulder controls, motion controls, and a rechargeable battery that can be replaced with a pair of AA batteries in an emergency. 

But its best feature is 8BitDo's Ultimate software which allows all the controls and features of the SN30 Pro + to be fully remapped and fully customized to suit specific player tastes, with the ability to save specific profiles for different games and to easily switch between them.

Also, Consider

With the grip extended, the 8BitDo SN30 Pro + is a bit large and thus not the best choice for gaming on the go. The $ 45 8Bitdo SN30 Pro features a similar control system design, but in a gamepad style that's easy to store in a pocket or backpack but lacks customization, and the vibrant feedback is disappointing. 

If you will exclusively play with emulators on an Android device, 8BitDo $ 45 SN30 Pro for Xbox is a better alternative because not only is it more portable than the SN30 Pro +, it also supports the software. The company's Ultimate lets you customize the gamepad functionality and remap controls to your preferences, although it doesn't contain any vibrant notes. 

However, for sheer portability, nothing can touch the $ 20 8BitDo Zero 2 mini console, which is roughly the size of a Tic-Tac case but combines four action buttons, a directional pad, a pair of shoulder buttons with a battery Rechargeable. About eight hours of gameplay.

As far as 8BitDo controllers are, it does not currently support any iOS devices. Apple has always made its tablets and smartphones very restrictive when it comes to wireless gaming devices that they can play with, but last year when the Apple Arcade was introduced, the company updated iOS 13, iPadOS 13., tvOS 13, and macOS Catalina with support. $ 60 for Xbox One Bluetooth Wireless Controller and PlayStation DualShock 4 Wireless Controller $ 60. 

Both come from companies with a big investment in games, and while these modern consoles can be somewhat of an extension to playing outdated games (Apple's mobile platforms are not compatible with emulators), these are solid options with great support services that back them up.

The Best Retro Arcade Machine

You're someone who's spent time hanging around the local alleys, slipping neighborhoods into lockers with fancy graphics and responsive buttons and joysticks. This is the experience you're trying to recreate - except for the colorful rugs, dim lighting, and cigarette smoke.

Our catch: Arcade1Up video game lockers ($ 300)

If you're willing to spend thousands of dollars, there's no shortage of older arcade machines available for purchase, powered by PC emulators that give instant access to thousands of classic games. 

Arcade1Up takes a completely different approach. Instead of a single machine that plays everything, Arcade1Up offers IKEA-style arcade lockers that you design yourself and focus on specific game series. 

(Like the various iterations of the Golden Tee released over the years.) The corporate hallways look exactly like what you'll find in classic arcades, with identical graphics, a light-up marquee, and even the original controls, but they are only four feet tall if you are not using a crane. Optional. 

The miniature approach means you can even cram them into a small apartment, and they start at just $ 300.

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